By: J. Alusine Kamara
Tuesday October 4, 2005
With so much already written and said about the just concluded S.L.P.P National Delegates Conference in Makeni, one might justifiably ask, “So, what else is new?” This article is to address that pertinent question.
President Kabba’s fundamental and democratic rights were in place when he declared his V.P, Solo B as his preferred successor. Although some thought it crassly premature given that incumbencies, with indecent regularity, negatively impact and contort political persuasions in developing countries. Their exploitation and misuse legendarily incubate tyranny.
However, the intended head start the Vice President was meant to gain would have paled into nothingness if, in my view, it had not been clandestinely orchestrated by barefaced and odious packaging of what Sierra Leoneans believe could turn out to be their “Trojan horse”. Makeni was to be the focal point for this grand deceit.
Crude excesses that attended use of state paraphernalia to advance candidates were extreme as the town bristled with top bureaucrats from every government department and parastatal. Each cannily struggled to outperform the other in their ?confessions’ of loyalty to egoistical power-drunks “Lay bellehism” was turned into an art form at its ignoble best.
Come Sunday, August 28 2005 with the venue being Makeni Teachers College, the stage was set for what I shall hereforward refer to as an ?Anointment’ exercise in all its vulgarity, and which I had in an earlier article surmised, bore no semblance of, by, or with the Holy Spirit!
Francis Gabbidon was unilaterally ushered in as Electoral Commissioner in clear violation of the Ombudsman Act, which stipulates that as the Ombudsman, Gabbidon should steer clear away from direct involvement in partisan politics. As would be expected when an objection was raised, the asinine and injudicious response was that he had acted in that capacity before. How brainless can people be? Are we to believe that if one of President Kabba’s Cabinet Ministers had gone scotch-free before for corruption, when he is eventually apprehended, his past exploits should stand him in good stead for continuation? I’m just asking? To me, that’s a simpleton’s rationalization. This was procedural violation number one.
Dr. Banya, as outgoing Chairman of the Party had declared that the High Table should be cleared of all but the Electoral Commissioner before the election/selection commenced. As important as the President and his Vice thought they were, they should have heeded this legitimate directive especially when viewed against their vested interest in the VP’s candidacy. Not to have done so, in my mind, contravened ethics of good governance, besides being intimidatory. Procedural violation number 2.
The Ombudsman’s pronouncement that contrary to voting norms in Executive elections, the Leader’s position would be contested for first, with disrespect for both the Party’s Constitution, and the sequence which places the Leaders spot awkwardly in third position was challenged. But of course, this was overruled. Was there a sinister need for manipulation? Your guess is as good as mine. Procedural violation number 3.
Disgracefully continuing the ?Anointment’, Gabbidon surreally lipped, “Noted” when an objection was raised about Solo-B’s eligibility to vote since he was not an elected, but an appointed executive. Only elected officials, it was pointed out, were qualified as delegates according to the Party’s Constitution. Well, I could have saved that objector his time, since it is my firmly held belief that both the S.L.PP, as a Party, and the S.L.P.P led-government, treat Constitutions with contemptuous levity. I stand to be corrected! Procedural violation number 4.
Contraventions of procedure at this ?Anointment’ were so numerous, what with Koinadugu, Kailahun etc. delegates list allegedly being doctored. “Support Movement for Kabba” (Sumokabs) and other groups having their formally and formally delegates number arbitrarily increased; not to mention voting carried out in delegate’s names who were thousands of miles away? (I wonder whether this last group arrived by ?grannat canda’?)
Some theorists contend that ?the end justifies the means’. This might hold true where legitimacy enjoys paramountcy. At the ?Anointment’ absurdity, this ?holds no water’. Taking my cue from the learned Chief Justice of the Sierra Leone Supreme Court, Dr. Ade Renner-Thomas in the matter between Sam Hinga Norman and the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), et al, he had said in Open Court, inter alia,” THIS JUDGMENT DID NOT DEAL WITH THE MERIT OF THIS CASE, BUT WITH THE PROCEDURE..!.
No doubt that an astute legal mind he boasts knows the import of these remarks, and will thus agree that since coarse procedural flaws inundated the “Anointment” in Makeni, whether Solo – B polled a million votes, as against a hundred by all the other contenders, the election ought to be considered null and void!